PinHolo - The story of how I made a Pine-Nut Pinhole Camera!


When I was a student at the Fine Arts Academy in Perugia, I fell in love with stenopeic photography and started gathering every kind of document I could about it and its technical evolution. I asked for some information from my photography teacher, Antonio Todini - He suggested that I search "Pinhole Photography" on the internet and as a way of remembering things said: “Pinhole, it sounds like pinolo (pine nut, in Italian), but with the 'H' after the 'N' and the final 'E'”. Since that moment the little nut planted itself in my mind and grew in the form of a challenge to make my very own pine nut pinhole camera!

  • After eating the pine nut fruit, I used the sides of the shell as a “camera obscura”. I needed the inside to be black, so I painted it. Then, I made a hole in the center of one side and applied on it a plate with a pinhole in the center. I also made two little metal rings, whose function was to keep shut the nut and keep off the light.
  • In a dark room I snipped some photographic paper paper as big as the pinenut size and put them into the little camera, that I called Pinholo. I used my thumb as shutter.
  • Removing the thumb from the hole and pointing the nut at my face then pointed a flash light right on my face (and going blind for a while).
  • Back in the dark room, I opened the Pinholo and put the photographic paper bit in the developing bowl. At the center of the paper started to appear something, somehow similar to a portrait… the Pinholo functioned!
  • With the scanner I enlarged the little negatives and restored them in positive. Eureka! The portraits were real!

So, I was able to turn a pine nut into a functioning stenopeic camera. I was so enthusiast that I based my graduation thesis on the pinholo. And it was a winning choice!

Born as a wordplay, soon the pinholo became a challenge and, years later, it still is intriguing, while I still play and take on new challenges…

World Pinhole Day is on Sunday! Find out more about it at

written by francescco on 2011-04-22 in #gear #tipster #camera #b-w #little #pinholo #stenopeico #tipster #pinhole-masters-and-magic #portraits #pinhole-top-tipsters #art #pinenut


  1. cyan-shine
    cyan-shine ·

    Genius! Bravo! Well done! :D

  2. eastmoe
    eastmoe ·

    genius and crazy..happy World Pinhole Day.

  3. nicx
    nicx ·

    So little

  4. gelibee
    gelibee ·

    Brilliant idea! :)

  5. pzjo
    pzjo ·

    insane & incredible!

  6. mythguy9
    mythguy9 ·

    There is also another brilliant photographer who shot pinhole with eggs.

  7. lucid_dreamer
    lucid_dreamer ·

    Awesome, just awesome!

  8. kylewis
    kylewis ·

    Francesco beautiful work, good to see it as an article!

  9. richidearthworm
    richidearthworm ·

    it is lucky you are not allergic nuts... it could have got out of hand really meow

  10. natalieerachel
    natalieerachel ·

    So awesome!! I just made a pinhole out of a film canister, it sounds boring after reading this!

  11. kleeblatt
    kleeblatt ·

    fantastic !!!!!

  12. sobiksaabik
    sobiksaabik ·


  13. linusbm
    linusbm ·

    So cool!

  14. ariannapaloma
    ariannapaloma ·

    incredibile! so cool!

  15. lighttomysoul
    lighttomysoul ·

    hahaha that is EPIC man! :D awesome!

  16. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    EPIC WIN!!!! :D

  17. victorvg84
    victorvg84 ·


  18. domemerson
    domemerson ·


  19. dabai
    dabai ·


  20. izzarosli
    izzarosli ·

    epic win!

  21. izzarosli
    izzarosli ·

    epic win!

  22. gittlob
    gittlob ·

    thats just cool!! I saw an article not so long ago on wordpress about a single use egg pinhole camera if I can find it again i will post it here if your interested

  23. gittlob
    gittlob ·

    found it!! this link ids the orgiginal one from the lomo site…

    and the blog link is…

    I think this is so cool and an awesome idea making pinholes out of everything!! Im thinking coconut!! unless someone has already done it??

  24. jaguarwomon
    jaguarwomon ·

    Very creative!

  25. hifi
    hifi ·

    Oh my gosh, genius!
    The pictures look surreal.

  26. andredimu
    andredimu ·


  27. synness
    synness ·


  28. federiico
    federiico ·

    Amazing story between you and the pinhole photography!!
    Realy lovely relationship!

  29. earlybird
    earlybird ·


  30. schlogoat
    schlogoat ·


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